I made a dress, recently, from one of the patterns I requested for Xmas, and I was dismayed to find that it completely didn't work on me. I used the correct size, the right (jersey) fabric. I followed the directions to the letter of the law. I even watched a video made by the designer of the pattern. Twice.
And when I finished, I felt the armscye was entirely too large, the neck too wide (my frame is narrow), the waist unflattering - it just didn't hang. I tried reconstructing it - for 4 hours. Alas, the bodice had a raglan sleeve and my abilities are not yet up to reworking it. Of course, it gave me a good excuse to get a French curve, on the assumption that I'd be able to figure out the geometry.
After waging a little battle with my inner critic, I decided to cut the top from the bottom. You know jersey doesn't unravel, so I knew I'd be alright. I gave the top - with elastic still attached, to my daughter and she wears it with fantastic Flashdance aplomb. Really, that child has natural style in spades.
When she wore it to school, her friends all wanted to know where she got it, and when she told them her mother made it, the were incredulous. (Note: This is not because of the garment's incredible quality, but because nobody's mother sews anymore.) M convinced them by advising them to look for a label. Apparently, when you're nine, the absence of a label is total evidence of an item's home construction.
But that left the skirt to contend with. The skirt was actually the most attractive part. It has a nice, thick hem rib and it hangs nicely. I decided, instead of throwing it away, I'd try to create a rib waist (from some ribbing I had left over having done my shrug - I really should show photos of that item. It's the most successful thing I've made to date...).
I didn't have a pattern, needless to say. But I've read that the amount of rib you use should be 2/3 the circumference of the item you are ribbing. I could only make it so thick - not thick enough, on balance - because that's all the ribbing I had to work with. Nonetheless, I did end up with something one can wear...